(Too Much) Fun I’m Having With Homemade Brownie Mix, Bread Mix, Pancake Mix, and More!

What is it about having this collection of homemade mixes in my pantry and freezer that has made me feel so organized and empowered? Yesterday I was just a regular person. Today I’m like, “I have created a huge amount of Brownie Mix and put it into an air tight container! Nothing can stop me now!!”

simple mixes

Baking Mixes: My New Super Power

In the past, I felt that mixes like this were silly. After all, is it really all that difficult to get out necessary pancake ingredients and mix up a batch? No. Will I actually turn into a complete disaster if I have to measure flour and baking powder into a bowl every time I need to bake a cake? C’mon now.

But days are full, life is short, and the truth is that sometimes I DON’T have time to measure salt and yeast, so there. Some days it’s all I can do to remember the location of our soccer game and get everyone fed and there on time. But never fear. Everything will be okay now because I HAVE MUFFIN MIX.

Simple Mixes that Save the Day

The book full of Simple Mixes recipes is FREE for Simple Meals members!
Details below. :)

As you can see, I have had the most fun playing with all my new Simple Mixes. I’m here to tell you that it actually does save time to make pancakes from a mix instead of getting out all ingredients and making them from ground zero. And it definitely saves brain energy. (This calls for high-fives all around.) When making pancakes from my homemade mix, I have our hot breakfast on the table within ten minutes.

simple mixes pancakes12

simple mixes pancakes22

God has given me many opportunities to feed housefuls of extra people lately, so even beyond feeding my family, I’m finding these Simple Mixes to be a HUGE help in spreading the yummy food love. I used the Muffin Mix to make Banana Bread one morning (even though the recipes included are actually for muffins). It worked! Though I dumped in too much milk and the bread sunk a little after I pulled it out of the oven. No worries. It all got eaten!

simple mix banana bread3

simple mix banana bread4

I used the Brownie Mix to make two pans of brownies to feed extra college students who came over for meals. They were a hit, and the mixes helped me get the brownies into the oven in less than five minutes!

simple mix brownies3

simple mix brownies4

As if the Stir-and-Pour Bread recipe isn’t easy enough, I found that having Stir-and-Pour Bread Mix made it that much easier. The picture turned out fuzzy, but the bread turned out beautiful – and it was perfect for a busy day recently when we needed bread to round out our lunch.

stir bread

I’ve created this Simple Mixes that Save the Day eBook full of these awesome mix recipes, and I’m giving it away for FREE to all Simple Meals members this week!

Here’s a peek at the first page of the book, so you can see what you’ll be given:

simple mixes intro page

Every week, Simple Meals members receive a full {simple} meal plan with recipes, time and money saving tips, a grocery list, and more. The Simple Meals plans are sent out to members every Thursday morning so you have plenty of time to prepare for the upcoming week. So current members! Watch for this fun new Simple Mixes eBook to hit your inbox this Thursday!

Not a Simple Meals member? Please join us! The price is right (only $1/week, and even less with the coupon mentioned below!), and the money and time you’ll save in the kitchen will be such a blessing to you! If you join Simple Meals before Thursday, you’ll gain access to this brand new Simple Mixes book too!!

Real all about Simple Meals here.

Join now —>

Simple Meals
Your yearly subscription equips you with a 52 week's worth of meal plans, grocery guide, recipes, and bonus tips, plus you get over $60 worth of bonus eBooks! Your Simple Meals plan will arrive in your inbox each Thursday morning.
Price: $52.00

Just want the Simple Mixes to Save the Day eBook? Get it here —>

Simple Mixes that Save the Day
Get our 7 amazing whole grain, low sugar mix recipe - from brownies to breads! Use them to make 22 varieties of delicious, simple baked goods for your family and guests!
Price: $7.95

Simple Mixes that Save the Day (Gorgeous New FREE Recipe eBook for Simple Meals Members!)

I’m ridiculously excited about the Simple Mixes book I get to share with you! It’s gorgeous and there are fudge brownies involved. So if you value beauty and chocolate, you will be just as excited as I. Oh, but there’s more!

If there’s anything at all that I can do to make my real food kitchen life simpler, you know I try to do it. That’s how Simple Meals was born – it was part of my effort to cut down on time spent in the kitchen while still putting great and healthy meals on the table.

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Yes, I love to cook. But I love looking at my family’s faces more. I love being the loudest cheerleader at all their events. I love having meaningful conversations with my husband. I love spending time in the Word. I love writing and keeping in touch with all of you. I love keeping life simple so I can keep my priorities my priorities.

Every time I learn a new simple trick or figure out a new simple recipe, I share it with you so that you, too, can simplify your kitchen life. Every week we send out a detailed Simple Meals menu plan with a bonus grocery list, tips, additional recipes, and suggestions for keeping your week as simple as possible. We give you this for a mere $1.00 per week, because that makes us happy. :)

And sometimes, we come up with even more ways to simplify your life, so we put them into an eBook, and we give them to Simple Meals members for FREE! Now introducing…

The biggest reason this little eBook makes me excited is because following its recipes have filled my freezer and pantry with all sorts of goodie mixes that save me even more time! I’ve got beautiful containers filled now with lovely mixes, so if…

  • I want to make pancakes for my family? I simply get out the my homemade pancake and waffle mix.
  • I’m making cornbread? I get out the cornbread mix.
  • Extra teens are coming over? I get out my brownie mix!
  • I decide at the last minute to make a cake? Oh, there’s a mix for that.

Simple Mixes that Save the Day

Here’s just a tiny sample of what I have on hand now, thanks to this Simple Mixes book. Muffin Mix, Pancake/Waffle Mix, Brownie Mix, and Stir-and-Pour Bread Mix:

simple mixes

This little book packs a big punch, and it’s free this week for all Simple Meals subscribers!! Take a look at the inside page:

simple mixes intro page

Our Simple Meals plans are sent out to members every Thursday morning so you have plenty of time to prepare for the upcoming week. So current members! Watch for this fun new Simple Mixes eBook to hit your inbox next Thursday too!

Not a Simple Meals member? Please join us! The price is right, and the money and time you’ll save in the kitchen will be such a blessing to you! If you join Simple Meals before next Thursday, you’ll gain access to this brand new Simple Mixes book too!!

Real all about Simple Meals here.

Simple Meals
Your yearly subscription equips you with a 52 week's worth of meal plans, grocery guide, recipes, and bonus tips, plus you get over $60 worth of bonus eBooks! Your Simple Meals plan will arrive in your inbox each Thursday morning.
Price: $52.00

Next week I’ll share more about the fun I’ve been having with my Simple Mixes. Because where there are mixes, the mama will bake, and everyone at her house is happy.

Just want the Simple Mixes to Save the Day eBook? Get it here —>

Simple Mixes that Save the Day
Get our 7 amazing whole grain, low sugar mix recipe - from brownies to breads! Use them to make 22 varieties of delicious, simple baked goods for your family and guests!
Price: $7.95

Simple Lasagna Casserole (Instructions for Instant Pot or Crock Pot!)

This Simple Lasagna Casserole makes it possible for me to offer this proclamation: If life gets any easier, we will all have to find new hobbies. 

lasagna casserole1

Just kidding. No doubt we all have plenty to fill our days. It’s just that all these Simple Meals take so little time and energy to prepare, we are all shocking ourselves with how quickly we can put a delicious, real food meal on the table!

Prep time for this Simple Lasagna Casserole recipe takes a tiny 5 minutes. Cook time in the Instant Pot takes another 5 minutes. Good grief, I barely have time to get out salad fixings, plates, and forks before my Instant Pot beeps to tell me that dinner is ready.

On the other hand, sometimes it’s nice to start dinner ahead of time, leave, and come back to it a few hours later. That’s where the Crock Pot comes in. I can start this casserole cooking in my crock pot (which also takes only 5 minutes of effort), walk away, do a load of laundry, answer a dozen emails, leave the house, scream for my boys at a soccer game, and come home to a ready-made dinner.

lasagna casserole2

NOTE: One of the tricks to making this meal so fast and easy to put together is having Cooked Hamburger Meat already prepared and ready to stir into this dish. If you have an Instant Pot, I highly recommend cooking it this way to get ahead on your hamburger. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, I still recommend cooking hamburger meat ahead of time on the stove-top, then freezing it in meal size portions to make dinner prep easier!

Cook Time Options for Simple Lasagna Casserole

Instant Pot: 5 minutes
Crock Pot: 3-4 hours

Simple Lasagna Casserole (Instructions for Instant Pot and Crock Pot!)
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 16-ounces UNCOOKED whole grain pasta, any shape
  • 1 pound cooked hamburger meat
  • 50-ounces spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 16-ounces cottage cheese
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (your favorite)
Instructions
  1. Stir uncooked pasta, spaghetti sauce, water, cooked meat, sea salt, and cottage cheese in a crock pot or instant pot. Cook as follows:
  2. Crock Pot: Cook on low for 3-4 hours.
  3. Instant Pot: Cook on Manual at high pressure for 5 minutes.
  4. Once time is up for either Crock Pot or Instant Pot, stir mixture and top with cheese, covering dish so the cheese will melt.
  5. Serve!

Simple Lasagna Casserole for Instant Pot or Crock Pot

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Simple Hashbrown Casserole (Instructions for Instant Pot, Crock Pot, or Oven!)

Hooray! Simple Hashbrown Casserole is my first (of many?!) Instant Pot recipes to share. But guess what else?

instant pot hashbrown casserole2

I’m well aware that not everyone has an Instant Pot, so I’m also providing instructions for baking this in an oven. Not only that, because there are times we might need a slower cooking option (like, if we need to get dinner started, then head out to ball games, then come home to a cooked meal) – so I’m also including Crock Pot cooking instructions!

As best I can, I will provide all these options each (or most of the) time I share an Instant Pot recipe. Here’s a quick glance at cooking times for this Simple Hashbrown Casserole so you can make your best plan on the day you make this.

Cook Time Options for Simple Hashbrown Casserole

Instant Pot: 15 minutes
Oven: 1 hour
Crock Pot: 3-6 hours, depending on low or hi setting

instant pot hashbrown casserole

You need just five ingredients to make this recipe! One of the ingredients is this Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix, which I love to have on hand at all times. Another ingredient is cooked meat. This time I made hamburger meat in my Instant Pot and I can’t wait to tell you about it! This is the easiest meat-cooking method there is – and possibly my “if you get an Instant Pot for no other reason, this is it!” shout out. I’ll share about this meat-cooking method soon!

You might remember a variation of this new simple recipe: Bacon Ranch Hashbrown Casserole. You can most certainly make that recipe in your Instant Pot or Crock Pot following these instructions! And if you don’t love the “ranch” flavor this calls for, simply sub it out for any spices you like! Truly this recipe is most forgiving, and allows you to make it with any meat you prefer or have on hand, so you can create it to your family’s taste!

And then there’s the variety of cooking methods that allow you to make this no matter how busy your day, so I think we can all agree that this recipe wins the “Cooks Choice Award!”

Simple Hashbrown Casserole

Simple Hashbrown Casserole (Instructions for Instant Pot, Crock Pot, or Oven!)
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 pound cooked meat (hamburger, ham, bacon, sausage, or any of your choosing!)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese
  • 3 cups sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 bag of frozen shredded hashbrowns
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, stir together cooked meat, shredded cheese, sour cream, and ranch dressing mix.
  2. Fold in frozen hashbrowns until all ingredients are well combined.
  3. Instant Pot Method: Cook for 15 minutes on manual mode, hi pressure.
  4. Oven Baking: Bake uncovered in a 350° oven for 45-60 minutes or until casserole is lightly browned and bubbly.
  5. Crock Pot Method: Cook on low for 6 hours or on hi for 3 hours.

Simple Hashbrown Casserole (for Instant Pot, Crock Pot, or Oven)

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Simple Cheese-Stuffed Burgers

True friends are the kind that hear your family mini-van has died and they say, “Here. Take our car until you find a vehicle. Keep it as long as you need it.”

True friends are the kind who come over to check out your “new” used mini-van and pick up the car they gave you on loan and while you’re talking in the driveway, you decide you must certainly invite them in for dinner, even though dinner is…

Random leftovers.

Yes. You can invite true friends in to share your random leftovers.

So we did. We said something like, “You guys want to come in for dinner? We’re not sure what we’re eating…” It was an invitation they couldn’t refuse.

We sat together and ate re-warmed Hawaiian Beef Roast with a few other odds and ends, and it tasted just as good as a meal made fresh that day, because true friends make any food taste better.

But what really makes a friend true is when you’re eating leftovers together and they tell you about burgers stuffed with cheese. Indeed, a true friend is someone who tells you to cut a hunk of cream cheese and wrap your burger around it before you grill.

Today, my friends become your friends and this recipe becomes your BFF, because today I’m sharing my friends’ brilliant idea to make Cheese-Stuffed Burgers.

cheese stuffed burgers

So what if these make your grill a little bit messy? Also, so what if I served these burgers on white burger buns? Indeed, I did. Would you like to know why I did this?

1) Because I don’t have time right now to make Homemade Buns. Maybe I will again eventually. Right now I have to compromise a little so I can keep up with life.
2) Also, I compared the ingredients to the 100% Whole Wheat Buns available at my local store. The ingredients in those were still terrible and they don’t taste as good. Why pay more for something that doesn’t taste good and isn’t actually healthier?

So I caved and I bought gross, cheap white store-bought buns. I’m not proud of this but I just ate a Cheese-Stuffed Burger so I actually don’t even care because all of life is better with these burgers. (Which, for the record, I ate without a bun because I’m personally not interested in buns right now. Meat and cheese though? Yes, please.)

cheese stuffed burgers2

To make these burgers, you’ll need to cut the cheese. (Saying that never, ever stops being funny.) I made it simple by cutting my cream cheese half, then in half again, then in half again…until I had eight squares of cream cheese. I then divided two pounds of hamburger meat into eight pieces, wrapped the beef around the cheese, and onto the grill they went.

I’m quite sure you could use any variety of cheese you like. I’m thinking Pepper-Jack would be a fantastic choice!

Simple Cheese-Stuffed Burgers

Simple Cheese-Stuffed Burgers
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds hamburger meat
  • 8-ounces cream cheese (or any cheese you like)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Divide meat into 8 patties.
  2. Cut cheese into 8 pieces.
  3. Wrap meat around the cheese and flatten slightly.
  4. Grill or pan fry until meat is no longer pink, seasoning to your liking.
  5. Serve right away.

Simple Cheese Stuffed Burgers

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Simple Crock Pot Creamy Stew Meat (with Rice, Potatoes, or Pasta)

Did you know that life is terribly unfair? It’s not fair that we let our youngest son go to camp by himself at age 11 but we made his brothers wait until they were 12. It’s not fair that one boy got more ice cream than his brothers. And it’s not fair that our entire family had to smell this Stew Meat cooking all day but couldn’t eat it until the evening came.

Torture. Smelling this meat cooking all day is torture, I tell you.

Slow cooker stew meat

Honestly, it doesn’t look like much in the picture. But the flavor of this meat is incredible because of the simple seasonings you sprinkle on. The crock pot does the work of cooking this slow and low so that the meat becomes tender and juicy. Then you add cream at the end to finish it off to perfection.

Having Ranch Dressing Mix and Onion Soup Mix on hand makes putting this meal into the crock pot very quick. As you probably expected, I didn’t thaw my stew meat ahead of time. I just pulled it from the freezer and put it directly into the crock pot. Easy, easy, easy!

Crock Pot Creamy Stew Meat

Simple Crock Pot Creamy Stew Meat (with Rice or Pasta)
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2-3 pounds beef stew meat
  • 3 Tablespoons Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 2 Tablespoons Onion Soup Mix
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. In a crock pot, stir together stew meat, seasoning mixes, and water.
  2. Put a stick of butter on top.
  3. Place lid on crock pot and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
  4. Add cream and heat for another 10 minutes.
  5. Serve over rice or pasta

Simple Crock Pot Creamy Stew Meat

We really loved this stew meat over steamed brown rice. But it would be equally wonderful served over mashed or baked potatoes, or even whole grain pasta!

Keep in mind that if you do make mashed potatoes to go with this meat, you must make them in the simplest way possible! (I suppose this would require that you have two crock pots though. Hmm…)

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Simple Hawaiian Beef Roast (5 Minute Prep!)

I first attempted this Simple Hawaiian Beef Roast recipe about a month ago on a busy night in which I was feeding out of town guests who had come to watch our youngest son, Malachi, perform in our local Children’s Theater production.

hawaiian roast beef

Malachi is the first of all our kids to choose to be involved in theater. It is a gross understatement to say that before this summer, I knew nothing about being a theater mom.

I kept calling the costumes “uniforms” because I have been a sports mom for so many, many years. But more difficult than this is the fact that I volunteered to help create said costumes. What in the world was I thinking?

Well, I’ll tell you what I was thinking. I was thinking that since all parents needed to be involved in some way with helping to pull off a huge 50-kid theater production, volunteering to help with costumes would be a better choice for me than volunteering to put on stage make-up. No way, no how should I be allowed to attempt to paint a child’s face.

I showed up to the first costume meeting where about 10 talented moms joined to talk to the director about all the costume needs. For two entire hours, everyone sat and discussed costumes – in German. Thoroughly lost while hearing all the words I didn’t understand, I eventually asked the director a question. He kindly said, and I quote, “Blah, blah, blah, stuff, stuff, blah. Does that make sense?” [DEER IN HEADLIGHTS]

I wanted to exit back stage left. Please someone tell me where I can sign up to bake cookies!!! Deliver me from trying to understand how to put together uniforms! I mean costumes.

As it turned out, the other moms did a marvelous job creating fabulously impressive costumes. The make-up moms transformed kids’ faces so that they actually looked like daisies and rabbits and mice.

Malachi's play 1

In the meantime, I used my talent to write actors’ names on Wal-mart bags with a sharpie so we could keep track of each character’s gloves, socks, and shoes. Rock on.

When all was said and done, I had so much fun meeting theater parents and kids from our community that I would join the costume committee again next year if I’m “needed.” I might even remember to stop calling them “uniforms.”

malachi's play 2

So this roast recipe. It’s so simple you can throw it into the crock pot to cook all day without exerting any effort. You can set out plates and direct your guests to help themselves to the roast as you head out the door to go help 30 sweet girl actors between the ages of 7-17 don their hedgehog, cook, queen, and daisy costumes as you pretend with all your might that you actually know what you’re doing.

Simple Hawaiian Beef Roast

Simple Hawaiian Beef Roast (5 Minute Prep!)
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pound beef roast (frozen or thawed!)
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 20-ounce can of pineapple, drained (or 2 cups fresh or frozen pineapple)
Instructions
  1. Place roast in crock pot.
  2. Pour barbecue sauce over the top.
  3. Add pineapple.
  4. Cook on low for 10 hours if roast is frozen and 8 hours is roast is thawed.

Simple Hawaiian Beef Roast

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The Simplest and Best Grilled Chicken (My Very Favorite Summer Food!)

You should know that there is much significance in me sharing that this Best Grilled Chicken is my favorite summer food. After all, do you know how many great summer foods there are to compete with this chicken?

There’s cold watermelon. There are strawberries, which can be made into this amazing Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait. There’s fresh corn on the cob (hello, I’m from Nebraska). There are peaches and nectarines. There’s asparagus and okra (sure I’m weird, but these actually are summer favorites of mine).

I guess the best news is that all of the above mentioned summer food choices can be served with The Simplest and Best Grilled Chicken, creating the best meal on the planet, amen and amen. (By the way, remember how our grill was broken? My genius husband was able to fix it. I am so very thankful!)

grilled chicken3
What I love about grilling is that all I have to do is throw out some simple fruit and veggie side dishes to complete the meal. Anything goes with this chicken. Any veggie. Any salad. Any kind of potato, pasta, or rice. Any fruit.

And even better: You can make it with any sauce you like!

Great Sauce and Dressing Ideas to Marinate The Simplest and Best Grilled Chicken

If your time is limited, you can do what I’ve been doing lately and buy a few sauces pre-made to have on hand for Simple Recipes like this. Homemade sauces are awesome, but as I’ve shared, right now I’ve got to pare back to keep my schedule a little lighter. So I’m not making everything from scratch right now (and I’m smiling more often).

I do read the labels (no high fructose corn syrup or other nasty ingredients allowed!). I am searching for good prices. But I’m appreciating the ease of opening a bottle and dumping it on chicken to marinate for our dinner. Sooooo simple!!!!

Do you see how easy it is to make real food for your family? And do you see how delicious real food tastes? (Wait. Can you see how food tastes? Who even wrote that sentence??)

Lemme just say this: If you’re afraid of real food and the word “healthy” makes you cringe and think of sprouted beans and tofu (I cringe at those too!), let go of the fear and make yourself some of this chicken with a slice of watermelon and some steamed green beans on the side. It’s as easy as that and you will learn that real food is the best thing you ever ate!

My Favorite Grilled Chicken Tip

My Best Chicken Tip

I’ve shared this before, but let me share again that the secret to making perfect chicken on the grill is to use boneless chicken thighs instead of boneless chicken breasts. Breasts get dry quickly. Thighs retain juiciness and the flavor is unbeatable.

Bonus

Boneless chicken thighs are usually less expensive than chicken breasts. Who knew?

Simple Grilled Chicken

Simple Grilled Chicken (My Very Favorite Summer Food!)
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2-3 pounds boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 cups of your favorite marinade (bbq, teriyaki, Italian dressing, etc.)
Instructions
  1. Place chicken in a single layer in a 9x13 inch dish.
  2. Spread dressing or sauce over the top.
  3. Cover and allow chicken to marinate until grill time or for at least two hours (overnight is fine!)
  4. Grill marinated chicken on low heat for 20-25 minutes, watching to be sure chicken is cooked evenly on both sides.

What are your favorite summer foods?

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lilla rose summer sale celtic paula

Lilla Rose is having a Summer Sale ThursdaySaturday – FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $50! (Must select “Free Shipping” at checkout.

This sale can also be combined with the monthly special for July.  (One free bobby pin with a $40 purchase, and two free bobbies with a $50 purchase!)  So yes, with just a $50 order, you can get both free shipping AND two free super-strong bobby pins that will NOT slip out of even super-fine hair.

So many lovely styles to choose from! Plus there are beautiful new natural hair sticks and cute new summery U-Pins, such a ladybugs, sand dollars, sea turtles, and flip flops!

Sale runs Thursday, July 13th, 2017 at 7am Pacific, through Saturday, July 15th at midnight Pacific. This is a sale you won’t want to miss!

33 Simple Summer Recipes and Tips (New Freebie for Simple Meals Subscribers!)

I thought it was hot here in Nebraska until my friend from Las Vegas told me about the temps they get there. Phew! What’s it like where you are?

You know me, though. I never complain about the heat because I love summer, sunshine, and being warm. I’m cold all winter so I embrace all the heat of summer while I can!

However, I don’t like heating up the house to cook or bake during the summer. Why run the air conditioner and the oven at the same time??

What should we do though because we all still eat three meals a day at home during the summer. Man shall not live on fruit smoothies alone. So what else is there?

Beat the Heat cover

Simple Meals members have already been enjoying Weekly Menu Planning Packets that offer mostly oven-free meal ideas for the summer. But what about breakfast and lunch? And what about snacks?

Beat the Heat has 33 Simple Summer Kitchen Tips and includes 49 real food recipes to use this summer that will keep your kitchen from heating up!

This resource is packed with ideas to get you through the summer. All real food ideas. Bunches of recipes. Oodles of tips for ways to have fun feeding your family delicious treats, light lunches, great snacks – you will love this!

This new eBook is a freebie for all of our Simple Meals Members. This is our only paid subscription (though super inexpensive!) offer here at Heavenly Homemakers and for good reason. Members get a thorough menu planning packet every single week! All the thinking and planning has been done for you. Your grocery list is made for you. You get bonus ideas, time saving tips, and extra recipes. This comes to your inbox every Thursday morning so you can plan for the next week. And the best part is that every single recipe and meal we suggest that you make is ridiculously simple.

Nothing complicated. All real food. All family friendly. Spend very little time in the kitchen. Endure no stress if you forgot to thaw meat (there’s a back-up plan for that!). Simple Meals really is making people’s kitchen lives easier!

All for one little dollar per week!

This week, members will get this fabulous Beat the Heat bonus resource along with all their regular menu planning info! We’ll send it out in this week’s regular Simple Meals Planning Packet email. Then to be sure we’ve caught all new members who want this, we’ll send it one more time on July 20. So join Simple Meals before July 20 for sure so you can receive this Beat the Heat booklet in your inbox with your planning packets!

Get all the details about Simple Meals here!

Simple Meals
Your yearly subscription equips you with a 52 week's worth of meal plans, grocery guide, recipes, and bonus tips, plus you get over $60 worth of bonus eBooks! Your Simple Meals plan will arrive in your inbox each Thursday morning.
Price: $52.00

 

“Processed Food” I Buy on a Regular Basis

It’s true. I buy processed food all the time. Check it out…

groceries feb 172

What you see there is none other than cases of processed Spaghetti Sauce, Salsa, and Canned Black Beans. Processed food, baby. Store-bought, canned, jarred, food right off a shelf.

And you thought you knew me.

But there’s more…

groceries-11-2

Are those hotdogs? What is this world coming to? Oh, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet:

groceries feb1710

This might come as a surprise, but I do not have a maple tree in my yard to tap in an effort to provide our family with this golden pancake and waffle topper. Also – and it might hurt to hear me say this – I don’t always take time to squeeze limes. Indeed, I have stooped so low that I actually buy jars of lime juice to make my Guacamole. Can we still be friends?

Those baked beans though. They are on my shelf ready to be served with the hotdogs you saw above, but you’ve already seen my Beanie Weanies and you haven’t abandoned me yet. Pizza sauce? In a can? Well, thank goodness that at least it is organic.

I’m not even done. There’s more for you to see:

groceries feb179

That there is a box of spaghetti noodles. There are a couple ingredients in that cream that I would rather not know about, and see that cheese? That’s 10 pounds of Colby jack all wrapped up in a package.

So here’s an idea…

Let’s change our thoughts about processed food

Not all processed food is bad.

When I first started making the switch from “bad food” to “good food” I got an idea in my head that all processed food was evil, that I must make everything from scratch in order to be a “good mom” and canned food would never again enter my home.

Eleven years later I have come to terms with the fact that someone else can juice my limes. Having shelves full of canned pizza sauce and black beans in my pantry makes my life so much easier I smile every time I see them. I open and use jars of salsa like there’s no tomorrow but guess what?

It’s all still real food.

It’s all real food!!!! Do you hear what I’m saying? The “processed” food I buy hasn’t been turned into something horrible. The spaghetti sauce in those jars is made from actual tomatoes and spices (and nothing else because I’m careful about the ingredients in my jarred and canned food purchases). These items started as food and ended as food and they help me put Simple Meals on the table like a boss.

This is what we must consider when choosing food from a shelf, a box, a bag, or a can:

Is this real food and does it nourish?

There are all kinds of processed “foods” that I don’t even call food because they do nothing to nourish and everything to harm. If it started as one thing (corn) and came out completely different (high fructose corn syrup), it isn’t real food and it doesn’t nourish. If it took a detailed process to create in a factory (margarine) instead of starting as one thing (cream) and becoming something good for us naturally (real butter), it isn’t real food and it doesn’t nourish.

Don’t be afraid of a box, jar, or can.

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Read the labels. Do your homework. Consider what’s actually inside the container. Ask: Is it real? Does it nourish?

Sometimes these are the foods that help us get through a day in peace and with a smile.

What are the “processed foods” you keep on hand to help make your real food life easier?

P.S. As many of you requested, I am slowly but surely making a list of items and brands of “processed food” I trust and purchase. Don’t hold your breath, but know that you can look for that list in a few weeks.